2023.06.18 Anti-Antifa Conundrum
During the legitimately delightful Death Cab For Cutie concert this past week, front man Ben Gibbard mentioned that the place they just came from was Vancouver BC. While they were leaving the hotel, they mentioned that they going to Portland Oregon. To which the random person warned, "Be careful, they have Antifa there."
Ben rolled that into a hilarious battle cry, engaging the zeitgeist of the progressive front of the culture war perpetuated by the über-rich and their frightened conservative hordes. And I'm sufficiently skeptical that I found myself wondering if this was a real encounter or merely a means to an audience-connecting trope.
But there's no denying that exactly that sentiment exists. "Antifa" has become a sort of "they started it" boogeyman to counterpoint the awful shit skinheads and police do.
Yet the first thing I found myself asking this supposed Vancouverite is, "As opposed to what, exactly?" Nazis? Or Nazi sympathizers? Because if you're not a Nazi, or a Nazi sympathizer, then you're technically anti-Nazi. Which is anti-fascist. Which is Antifa.
I'm curious to hear how these people conceptualize our various anti-fascist cultural heroes, like Captain America, Indiana Jones, and most of John Wayne's characters. Are they booing and hissing when they watch Indy punching every Nazi he sees? Or are they, as I suspect, grimly clinging to their own personal John Wayne-ness and dream of a glorious previous American Ideal that they do not interrogate in context of a modern reality.